the supporters say goodbye to the “boss” Lurking at the Vélodrome

In blue and white, a few thousand supporters of Olympique de Marseille came to the Stade Vélodrome on Thursday for a final farewell to Bernard Tapie, the “boss”, this Parisian revered for having led the club on the roof of European football.

At 6:25 p.m., a few seconds of silence greet the entry onto the lawn of the coffin of the former OM president (1986-1994), who died of cancer on Sunday at his Paris home. Then the applause resounded for a last tribute to the one who led the club to victory in the Champions League in 1993, the only one ever won by French football.

A few moments earlier, the 3,000 Olympian supporters gathered in a stand at the Vélodrome had been able to relive, on the stadium’s giant screens, the first half of this famous final against AC Milan, until Basile Boli’s victorious goal. , in the 44th minute.

The coffin, covered with a Marseille flag and another bearing the portrait of the ex-businessman, as well as the scarves of the seven OM supporters’ clubs, is placed in the center of the field. Then the cup with the big ears is brought and also placed above the body, while the notes of Jump, the Van Halen, puis We Are The Champions, the Queen.

“Supporter of OM and anti-Parisian”, Micheline Duval, 61, member of the supporters’ club of Winners and cleaning lady, dressed in the colors of the club from head to toe, anti-Covid mask included, “came to pay homage to the only Parisian recognized by the Marseillais”. He “brought us to the top,” she insists.

“The tribute we pay him is nothing next to what he deserves. We should not talk about the past,” she says, evacuating the judicial convictions of the former leader with the legendary patter .

“All our dark side”

In the VIP tribune, all the Marseille political gratin is there: the socialist mayor of the city Benoît Payan, the LR president of the metropolis and of the department Martine Vassal, the LR president of the region Renaud Muselier.

On the giant screens of the stadium, photos parade: Bernard Tapie in the locker room, with his players or at the edge of the lawn. Photos of his time in football, above all, but also with President François Mitterrand, of whom he was a very ephemeral Minister of the City, or on his boat, in the creeks.

“When you are a supporter, it was essential to come today”, insists Antony, 31, a city employee, who took his day to come “to pay tribute to Tapie”, which he considers “inseparable from the club “. The young man retains “the ardor, the charisma and the desire to win” of the bragging man of the media. “A personality who stuck with OM”, even if “at the beginning we were wary, because he was Parisian”, he admits.

The supporter prefers to retain the coronation of 1993 and does not hold it against him for his multiple judicial convictions: “We all have our dark side”, he says simply, acknowledging only “that he made a serious mistake” by buying the match against Valenciennes in 1993.

On Friday, supporters will be able to accompany Bernard Tapie, behind the funeral convoy, one last time, for a procession between the Old Port and the Cathedral of the Major, where his funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m.

Interment will then take place in the Mazargues cemetery, in the southern districts of the city.

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